Leave it to McDonald’s to Turn Oatmeal in to Junk Food

How does a warm bowl of fruit and oatmeal rate on the healthy-breakfast scale? Surprisingly low, if it’s from McDonald’s. Fast food joints have a stunning talent for taking a nutritious meal and morphing it into junk food. It’s only natural for McDonald’s to lead the pack with their Fruit and Maple Oatmeal.

Mark Bittman, writer for The New York Times, put it perfectly when he said, “A more accurate description than “100% natural whole-grain oats,” “plump raisins,” “sweet cranberries” and “crisp fresh apples” would be “oats, sugar, sweetened dried fruit, cream and 11 weird ingredients you would never keep in your kitchen.” Bittman also points out that you may as well grab an Egg McMuffin, it’s only 10 calories more than the FMO (as McDonald’s so affectionately calls it) and in some areas costs half as much. To be fair, it is among the healthiest items they have available, but that really isn’t saying much.

With more sugar than a Snickers bar, why in the world do we eat this stuff ? We’re clearly desperate to save all the time and money that we can. What’s ironic is that traditional oatmeal costs less and really is wholesome and healthy. Besides that, the convenience factor of McDonald’s is a bunch of hype. It takes more time to wait in line and order your meal than to wake up 15 minutes early, cook up some oatmeal and throw it in a small tupperware (if you need it to-go.)

McDonald’s isn’t the first to take oatmeal and turn it into sugary mush. Sadly, oatmeal has fallen victim to the high standards we place on our society to provide us with everything at break-neck speed. Quaker Instant Oatmeal comes sweetened and contains half the amount of fiber as its slow-cooked counterpart. The truly sad part is that “slow” is a completely relative term. Even steel-cut, traditional oats are not difficult to make. In all honesty, an occassional fast-food fix is not the end of the world. If I can’t convince you to stay away from McDonald’s altogether then the oatmeal is a reasonable choice, but an even better choice is to make your own oatmeal at home.

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